“The Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative is a national forum where advocates, organizers, researchers, practitioners, and funders are coming together to close the gap by building wealth for low-income women and women of color.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://womenswealthgap.org/” title=”Learn about Women’s Wealth Gap.org” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Learn about Women’s Wealth Gap.org[/x_button]
This is the fourth in a series of reportspublished by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on women’s leadership in political, civic, and professional spheres, and the way in which leadership is related to economic security. We focused on leadership roles that can be identified and counted, including elected or appointed public servants at the state and municipal levels, leaders of critical community institutions, and leaders of organizations in the private and non-profit sectors. That said, it is important that we acknowledge the myriad other ways in which Vermont women and men serve as leaders, many of them unrecognized by traditional measures but nonetheless critically important. Most of the data in this report is either new or not regularly collected or published. All of it is specific to Vermont and is vitally important – not just in terms of what it reflects about women, but because of its implications for the state as a whole.
By some measures Vermont is a national pacesetter in its share of women in public leadership.
Women are 39.4% of those serving in Vermont’s General Assembly, 60% of the state’s Supreme Court Justices, 43% of Executive Cabinet members and 50% of its public university and college presidents.
However, Vermont’s progress in achieving gender parity in leadership arenas has been uneven, slow-going or in some cases nonexistent.
Just one of Vermont’s six statewide officials is a woman, trailing the national average by 7 percentage points. Indeed, of the 296 individuals ever elected to statewide office, only 11 have been women.
Vermont and Mississippi are the only two states that have never sent a woman to Congress.
While women’s participation in Vermont’s General Assembly is the second highest in the country, the pace of change has essentially leveled off since 1993; in 24 years, women’s share of legislative seats has increased by just four percentage points.
When only 8% of Vermont’s highest grossing companies and 3 of its 15 hospitals are led by women, we can be certain that we are not making full use of all our state’s talent.
January 25, 2017 (Montpelier, VT): The Vermont Commission on Women’s Equal Pay Compact, a voluntary online pledge enabling Vermont-based employers to learn more about and to indicate a commitment to closing the gender wage gap, just celebrated an important milestone: the 100th employer to sign on.
“This project launched on Equal Pay Day 2015 to inform employers about practical steps they can take to eliminate the wage gap in their business and across Vermont.” says Cary Brown, Vermont Commission on Women’s Executive Director. “Legislation alone can’t fix this: employers are the key. We provide consultation and a list of strategies employers can draw on, anything from quick and easy fixes, like enlisting diverse evaluators in the hiring process, to more complex ones, like creating flex time, job sharing, and telecommuting programs. The idea is to inspire positive change in employer practices.”
Seth Leonard, the Mayor of the City of Winooski, explains why they signed on to the Equal Pay Compact. “A commitment to equal pay policies makes us more competitive, allowing us to recruit and retain qualified people to government work. This is a process that requires a long-term commitment to both creating and maintaining a just compensation system. We are pleased to join in the Compact and work toward our goal of recognizing and rewarding all of our employees.”
Kelly Walsh, advisor and recruiter to the project, continues. “Vermont is chock full of socially responsible employers working hard to do all the right things for their employees, and this is a great way to spotlight and acknowledge those businesses. For employers who want to attract and retain female employees, being listed on the Vermont Equal Pay Compact’s site is a public expression of support.”
The Equal Pay Compact is one way in which the Vermont Commission on Women works as a partner in Change The Story Vermont, along with Vermont Works for Women and the Vermont Women’s Fund. Change The Story is an initiative to align policy, program, and philanthropy to significantly improve women’s economic status in our state. For more information and to sign up for the Compact, please visit women.vermont.gov.
This is the third in a series of briefs published by Change The Story on topics related to women’s economic status. This report focuses specifically on business ownership by women and its potential to bolster and invigorate Vermont’s economy. Like the majority of national and regional reports on businesses, this report relies heavily on data from the 2012 U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners. Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are specific to Vermont. To date, we have had to rely on national reports to define the health of Vermont’s women-owned businesses. But their conclusions paint conflicting pictures: one analysis of 2014 data ranked Vermont first among states for entrepreneurs, while another ranked Vermont 50th. The difference between these rankings begs the question: What is the real story for Vermont women and business ownership?
Women-owned businesses are vital to Vermont’s economy.
Women own 23,417businesses in Vermont, which employ 36,326 people, and generate annual revenues of approximately $2.2 billion.
Although growing at a faster rate than businesses owned by men, women-owned firms in Vermont are fewer in number, smaller in size, and lower in annual revenues.
Between 2007-2011, the number of female-owned businesses grew15%; during the same period male-owned businesses grew by only 6%.
Women-owned businesses generate 9% of gross revenues and employ 12% of workers in privately-held Vermont firms.
Women business owners are significantly underrepresented in 9 of the 10 highest grossing sectors. This limits financial opportunities for individual women and their potential contributions to Vermont’s economy.
Women-owned businesses have the potential to play a much bigger role in Vermont’s economic development.
If the percent of women-owned businesses that are employers matched that of male-owned businesses, and those firms had the same average receipts, it would add $3.8 billion to Vermont’s economy.
If Vermont women chose business ownership at the same rate as men, it would result in more than 10,500 new businesses.
If just 1 in 4 of the existing 20,786 women-owned businesses without employees hired just one worker, it would result in an additional 5,200 new jobs.
Maximizing the potential of women-owned businesses – and indeed all of VT businesses – requires new and better data.
While existing business-related data sources can provide reliable top-line statistics, they are less useful in revealing nuanced information about the motivations, challenges or opportunities experienced by Vermont business owners. Focusing on the finer points of what makes a business successful is critical to Vermont’s economic future.
“If you were an American man working full-time in 1984, you earned, on average, a bit more than $22 an hour (adjusted for inflation to 2014 dollars). If you were particularly ambitious, or particularly in need of cash, you could make more money by working more hours, but on a per-hour basis, you’d still be making about the same — a bit more than $22 per hour.
Fast-forward to 2015, though, and the picture looks a lot different. The average man working a typical full-time job, 35 to 49 hours a week, now earns about $26 an hour. But the man working 50 hours a week or more now earns close to $33 an hour.1 Hourly pay has risen more than twice as fast over the past three decades for men working long hours, as employers increasingly reward employees willing to work extra hours with raises or promotions. (The pattern crosses educational and industry lines, and holds when excluding overtime pay.)
Notice that I said “men.” Men make up a bit more than half the full-time workforce, but they account for more than 70 percent of those working 50 hours a week or more. So as wage gains have gone disproportionately to people working long hours, they have also gone disproportionately to men, widening the earnings divide between men and women overall.”
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-women-are-no-longer-catching-up-to-men-on-pay/” title=”Why Women Are No Longer Catching Up To Men On Pay” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full article[/x_button]
How discrimination, societal norms, and other forces affect women’s occupational choices—and their pay
What this report finds: Women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men—despite the fact that over the last several decades millions more women have joined the workforce and made huge gains in their educational attainment. Too often it is assumed that this pay gap is not evidence of discrimination, but is instead a statistical artifact of failing to adjust for factors that could drive earnings differences between men and women. However, these factors—particularly occupational differences between women and men—are themselves often affected by gender bias. For example, by the time a woman earns her first dollar, her occupational choice is the culmination of years of education, guidance by mentors, expectations set by those who raised her, hiring practices of firms, and widespread norms and expectations about work–family balance held by employers, co-workers, and society. In other words, even though women disproportionately enter lower-paid, female-dominated occupations, this decision is shaped by discrimination, societal norms, and other forces beyond women’s control.
Why it matters, and how to fix it: The gender wage gap is real—and hurts women across the board by suppressing their earnings and making it harder to balance work and family. Serious attempts to understand the gender wage gap should not include shifting the blame to women for not earning more. Rather, these attempts should examine where our economy provides unequal opportunities for women at every point of their education, training, and career choices.
[x_button shape=”square” size=”regular” float=”none” href=”http://www.epi.org/publication/womens-work-and-the-gender-pay-gap-how-discrimination-societal-norms-and-other-forces-affect-womens-occupational-choices-and-their-pay/” title=”Economic Policy Institute: “Women’s work” and the gender pay gap” target=”blank” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover”]Read the full report[/x_button]